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The title says it al. Question: should I turn justification on or off on my website? And why?
In principle, justification without hyphenation shouldn't be allowed ;-)
In the specific case, the setting and the content don't seem to create especially jarring gaps between words, and the general boxiness and symmetry of the design probably work best with justified blocks.
So, keep it on.
It depends on browser support of automatic hyphenation. But it’s good to have it turn on because CSS standards are always evolving (albeit slowly) and there will be definitely a day when major browsers all support it.
Safest option now is not to use hyphenation because you’re unsure whether there will be people who view your website on Safari 6/7 (deprecated support for most CSS3 OT features), early versions of Firefox without silent updates, or worse, Opera.
Current stables of Chrome and Firefox have been avidly following CSS3 OT features for a long time. Surprisingly IE10 has been supporting more OT features than Chrome and Firefox (good job Microsoft).
On the other hand Safari 8 on Yosemite won’t even display discretionary ligatures. No point for you, Apple!
Yet there are ways to enable hyphenation there too (I haven’t investigated how it’s done, but for example the “old” Twentytwelve Wordpress default theme do it).
Safest option now is not to use hyphenation because you’re unsure whether there will be people who view your website on…
No, if you specify text-align as justify, then those browsers that don’t read CSS hyphens (or load your JS in weird ways) would stretch word spacing to justify. That would look horrible.
How does CSS create hyphens anyway? Do they make use of the font or does it attempt to do something more creative?
Another factor is that some folks will bump up the minimum font size in their browser's settings, so line breaks and spacing may be different than you expect. I wear bifocals and often make website type larger.
Loading JS is sometimes viewed by web designers/developers as the inferior method, because one always strives to reduce page load. The more extra JS you load, the more manipulation to DOM, and the more time it takes to present the page. That’s why web typographers are so frantic about new CSS standards, which, once established and supported, would enable the same hyphenation function without JS.
Automatic hyphenation support (the hyphens selector) is still in the very early stages in CSS (it’s not even in CSS3 but only a Working Draft). Consequently a few major browsers still don’t support this selector (Opera being the worst and IE10 being the best supporter right now).
You can read more about this in Mozilla’s network: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/CSS/hyphens and also about when to hyphenate: http://css-tricks.com/almanac/properties/h/hyphenate/
Lettering.js (http://letteringjs.com) mainly uses JS to achieve typographic exercises on web without browser native support. This is rather clumsy, but the best workaround you can get.
Loading JS is sometimes viewed by web designers/developers as the inferior method, because one always strives to reduce page load. The more extra JS you load, the more manipulation to DOM, and the more time it takes to present the page.
That’s why web typographers are so frantic about new CSS standards, which, once established and supported, would enable the same hyphenation function without JS.
That's an exciting development indeed, but I'm going to wait until there is better support before I start using it.
@riccard0 Thanks man, I'll keep it on.